User:Whiteknight/Subject Space

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Due to a severe shortage of time, I am no longer able to be an active member of the Wikibooks project. Please see my page for more details about my absense. I will continue to monitor my talk page for correspondence and will try to reply quickly when possible.

This page is going to represent my proposal to create a new "Subject:" Namespace here on wikibooks.

Current State[edit]

In Wikibooks there are currently a number of mechanisms for organizing books, including the Bookshelves, LOC, Dewey Decimal (DDC), and Alphabetical (ABC) classifications. The LOC, DDC, and ABC systems are category based, so that all books that are properly categorized will appear in a server-generated list in the appropriate pages. However, this system is very limited, and as some people have commented, the server-generated lists are not particularly aesthetic.

Proposal: "Subject" Namespace[edit]

To counteract some of the problems and limitations of the current organizational methods, I would like to create a new "Subject:" namespace that can be used as a meta-organizational space to help keep things in better order. Having an entire namespace for the purpose will allow us to do additional things that have not had a place before. We can use the DPL extension to automatically transclude and arrange lists from the current categories.

The "Wikibooks" namespace is primarily for policy, guidelines, and community pages. The "Help" space is primarily for help and tutorial pages. With the possible exceptions of the Card Catalog office, and the Bookshelves, all book organization would happen in the new subject space.

Uses of the "Subject:" Namespace[edit]

There are a number of potential uses for this new namespace, and I would like to list a few of them that I have considered (this is not an exhaustive list):

Division by Subject[edit]

The bookshelves do a good job of dividing books by subject, but there are a few shortcomings to this system. Books that do not neatly fit into any one subject are arranged on one shelf, or are cross-posted onto multiple shelves. Beyond that, many shelves contain large numbers of books that could be further subdivided, or else belong somewhere else entirely.

On the programming languages bookshelves, we could have a number of subject pages for "Functional Programming", "Object Oriented Programming", or other such logical divisions.

Division by Prerequisites[edit]

We could list out all the books that rely on another book. For instance, we could list all the books that require the reader to have a prior knowledge of Calculus. In "Subject:Books that Require Calculus", we could have a listing of all such books. In this way, authors of the Calculus book could take a look at the requirements of books on this page before making changes to the book.

Currently we are using the "dynamicpagelist" in order to get a list of all books that require calculus[1][2].

Officializing Meta-Indexes[edit]

Some pages, such as Modern Physics, Assembly Language, Electric Circuits or Blender 3D are not books by themselves, but instead are index pages to other books. Other pages serve as disambiguation pages between multiple books with related subjects or related titles. Instead of Assembly Language we could have a page "Subject:Assembly Language" which could serve as an index for all books that fit this category (but which aren't sufficient to warrant their own bookshelf).

Many index pages like this already exist, but a subject space would give us a way to standardize their use.

Division by Audience[edit]

Besides Wikijunior, there have been several other abortive attempts to create index pages for books targetting a specific audience. Some of these, such as Wikitoddler, Wikilearn, Wikistudy, and Wikiprofessional would be better suited as a subject page containing books that share a common audience, instead of attempting to be a separate project entirely. Wikitoddler could be a subject space that indexes Wikijunior books that are specifically targeted to very young childre (instead of being a separate entity that competes with Wikijunior). We could have several of the following:

  • "Subject:Books for toddlers"
  • "Subject:Books for Young Children"
  • "Subject:Books for Undergraduates"
  • "Subject:Books for Professionals"

And so forth

Division by Curriculum[edit]

Books that meet the requirements of a specific curriculum could be lumped together into a single curriculum page. This will enable us to show books that form a logical progression, but also books that are usuable in a real-world classroom. Some examples would be:

  • "Subject:FHSST Books"
  • "Subject:Honors Books"
  • "Subject:State of California Public School System Books"
  • "Subject:Electrical Engineering Undergraduate Books"

And so on.

Maintaining the "Subject:" Namespace[edit]

Many pages in the Subject: space could be automatically generated using DPL. Many books are already properly categorized, and many books are already located in multiple categories.

In addition, several other subject pages could be manually updated, because it is unlikely that the list of books on those pages will change rapidly. We could easily create a {{Subject}} template that would automatically categorize books according to subject, and then use DPL to transclude the category lists onto the subject pages. In this way, we could also have a visual marker of what categories a book belongs to:

This book belongs to the following groups:

  • Subject:Undergraduate Texts
  • Subject:Engineering Texts
  • Subject:Books that Require Calculus
  • ...